a16z Podcast: Innovating in Bets

Every organization, whether small or big, early or late stage — and every individual, whether for themselves or others — makes countless decisions every day, under conditions of uncertainty. The question is, are we allowing that uncertainty to bubble to the surface, and if so, how much and when? Where does consensus, transparency, forecasting, backcasting, pre-mortems, and heck, even regret, usefully come in?

Going beyond the typical discussion of focusing on process vs. outcomes and probabilistic thinking, this episode of the a16z Podcast features Thinking in Bets author Annie Duke — one of the top poker players in the world (and World Series of Poker champ), former psychology PhD, and founder of national decision education movement How I Decide — in conversation with Marc Andreessen and Sonal Chokshi. The episode covers everything from the role of narrative — hagiography or takedown? — to fighting (or embracing) evolution. How do we go from the bottom of the summit to the top of the summit to the entire landscape… and up, down, and opposite?

The first step to understanding what really slows innovation down is understanding good decision-making — because we have conflicting interests, and are sometimes even competing against future versions of ourselves (or of our organizations). And there’s a set of possible futures that result from not making a decision as well. So why feel both pessimistic AND optimistic about all this??